Harriers Hot to Trot
Sept. 7, 2007
LAS VEGAS - The UNLV cross country team begins its 2007 slate this weekend as it travels west to the Asics/UC Irvine Invitational on the campus of UC Irvine. The women will take to the course at 9 AM. The meet was originally marked for Huntington Park, but was moved to the Anteater Recreation Center following a scheduling conflict.
Second-year head coach Tony Houchin looks for improvement this season, after finishing ninth at the MWC Championships a year ago. The Rebels, who were recently slotted ninth in the MWC preseason coaches poll, are inexperienced but have a solid returning core and a large group coming in as freshmen.
Leading the way for the up-and-coming Rebels will be sophomore Charlotte Browning. Browning, who missed the 2006 season after enrolling last spring, was the 2007 Freshman of the Year in track and field. She won the 1,500 meters in the outdoor championships last season, finishing eighth in the NCAA national championship meet.
The true freshmen to watch for are Jessica Heil and Angie Silva, two young but talented first-year runners. Heil was the Desert Region champion as a senior for Centennial High School in Peoria, Ariz., and Silva was a state qualifier in her final prep season at Oakridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Returning letterwinners Jenni Shearer, Ali Ainsworth, Ashley Lif and Laura Lundin will provide leadership to the young squad that features 10 newcomers. Shearer, a junior from Fort Wayne, Ind., has been the Rebels' top finisher at every meet since her freshman year and she finished 54th at the 2006 league meet as a sophomore.
"Our numbers are bigger than they have been in recent years here and that will help in a lot of areas," Houchin said. "We will be better prepared to handle any injuries, and at each practice the group will push each other to get better every day."